On Sunday, the OASI Foundation celebrated its 25th Anniversary with a ceremony held in Gozo. In the late 80s, Fr. Emmanuel Cordina started encountering cases of drug experimentation in Gozo, and became aware of the lack of educational and preventive services in the sector.
With the help of a group of people, Fr. Cordina started the OASI project, and on Wednesday, the 26th of June 1991, the OASI Foundation was officially set up.
OASI said, as a house needs solid foundations to hold fast against the elements, so does society. The Founders always believed that children and youths are the foundations of society, and thus OASI started its work in prevention to help society strengthen future generations.
The next step for the Foundation was to set up a futuristic programme of prevention and care tailored to Gozitan needs as well as the national social milieu. A year after foundation, a programme was chosen that could offer OASI and its clients services tackling toxic substance abuse.
OASI said that its new social project was built around three central elements: preventive education, effective intervention and intensive therapeutic rehabilitation. The programme was based on the philosophy, pedagogy and therapy of the Alcoholics Anonymous 12-Step Programme and the biopsychosocial Minnesota Model. These worthwhile decisions are still bearing fruit today.
Oven these 25 years of work in the community, OASI continued to grow and renew itself. On the 20th of November, 1998, a Residential Centre was opened and all services started also being offered on a residential basis. Over the years, OASI has twice had to increase the size of its Centre in Victoria, Gozo.
In 2009, a new Residential Home was opened, increasing the number of beds from 7 to 15. Over the years, OASI said that it has faced many problems, including a period between 2003 and 2004 when the residential centre had to close.
"This was a difficult time for OASI and its clients who were following the 12-Step Programme, which is only offered by OASI in Malta. In spite of these setbacks, assistance was still given to persons seeking assistance with social problems from OASI during this time."
In 2013, reform was carried out to help the Foundation strengthen its structures so as to be better prepared to face current problems as well as future ones. At this time, the Foundation was structured into 5 departments: Administration, Volunteers, Primary Prevention, Immediate Intervention, and the Treatment Unit.
This year, the Board of Directors has updated and registered a new statute, with the intention of putting the Foundation in a better position to carry out its work in the community with greater efficiency and civic responsibility.
OASI said that the new statute reflects the changes that happened in both the Foundation itself and society at large over the preceding 25 years.
This statute gives all friends of OASI, volunteers and benefactors, the opportunity to become ordinary members of the Foundation, with the right to attend Annual General Meetings and vote about internal changes and in elections to fill vacant posts on the Board of Directors.
The OASI Foundation said that its mission is to continue to spread and grow its educational, therapeutic and social work. "This can only be done thanks to the dedication and ceaseless work of all those who support the Foundation."
OASI gave special thanks to the Directors, all other volunteers, staff and benefactors, past and present, "thanks to whom OASI remains present, working for the benefit of society, to this day."
During Sunday's celebrations a memento was presented to Karista Stellini by Fr. Emmanuel Cordina, in appreciation of her voluntary services to the OASI Foundation.